The Monthly Newsletter of St. Luke United Methodist Church Âˇ November 2019
LINE THIS MONTH 1. Announcements
2. Holiday Market Photos 3. Season of Abundance 4. Stephen Ministry Moment 5. Health Expo Photos 7. Financial Update There were so many fun community events in October. Check out the photos on pages 2, 5-6, & 11-12
8. Giving Matters 10. Holiday Hope 11. Pumpkinfest 13. Wednesday.comm Cookout and Closing 14. The Advent Wreath
"Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness." 2 Corinthians 9:10-11
15. Christmas Shoeboxes and Packing Party 17. From the Pantry Shelf 18. Blue Barrel Sunday
ANNOUNCEMENTS St. Luke Connect
Are you new to St. Luke? Want to find out more about what we
value, our ministries, and more about the church? Our Senior
Pastor, Brian Ebel, would love to meet you on Wednesday, December 4 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. This is an opportunity for newer people to St. Luke that want to find out more to connect, join the church, be baptized or ask questions.
You are invited to join the Keenagers for our next study!
Starting November 17th in the Trinity Room at 9:30 a.m. We will conduct a six-session video study using the book, How Happiness Happens, by Max Lucado. “Our culture tries to convince us there is one way to happiness: aspire, acquire, desire, retire...In this
video Bible study, bestselling author Max Lucado looks at several
‘one another’ statements in the Bible that reveal how the happiest
people on earth aren’t those who have the most but those who are willing to give the most away.” Kingdom Economic Sermon Series (Nov. 10-24)
November 10 through November 24, Brian and Nora
will be leading our Kingdom Economics Series in all 3
of our morning services! Come prepared to develop an
understanding of stewarding your finances in a Christian way. Each service will have identical teaching delivered from the same person. In order to accomplish this, our
Contemporary Service will start at 10:35 AM each of these three Sundays. We encourage you to plan ahead if this change affects your schedule. This series is also a great opportunity to invite your friends and neighbors to worship, as the Bible offers applicable wisdom that many people are searching for! Nathaniel Mission Thanksgiving Meal
Help feed our brothers and sisters in need this Thanksgiving! The
Nathaniel Mission will be hosting their annual Thanksgiving meal on Tuesday, November 26. St. Luke has been asked to provide cut green
beans and 26.6 oz packages of potato flakes for the event. Sign up at the Connection Center and bring items in by Monday, November 25.
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United Methodist Women THANK YOU! The United Methodist Women would like to thank St. Luke members for your support of our Holiday Market, for helping to make this a successful endeavor and a fun event! Proceeds from the Holiday Market help support programs that benefit women and children. Thank you!
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Abundance by Brian Ebel
t’s the season of abundance! Thanksgiving is upon us, and as our thanksgiving to God for his abundant grace in our lives comes, that thanksgiving gives way to God providing abundantly again as we celebrate the birth and return of our Savior Jesus Christ. There is much to celebrate, be grateful for, and recognize the many ways in which God has abundantly blessed us at St. Luke. Here are three ways Mandy and I are celebrating God’s abundance at St. Luke: We’ve seen an abundance of God’s grace at St. Luke as you have been so kind to our staff during staff appreciation month. The calls, cards, and gifts of love have been such a blessing and encouragement to all of our staff. Thanks for the abundance of joy you’ve poured out upon us, and we are blessed to have the opportunity to serve here at St. Luke. We are excited about the upcoming season of ministry here as we’ve been growing, learning, and envisioning the future.
We’ve seen an abundance of God’s grace as our community is growing! Our attendance numbers are on the rise, and we’ve had the joy of meeting new families at St. Luke on Sunday mornings. The church is meant to grow, and this comes 3 | November 2019
in so many different forms: personal spiritual growth, worship attendance growth, financial growth, and the growth of reaching new people and more people for Jesus Christ. God pours out an abundance of grace into our lives, and we have the joy of sharing that abundance with people all around us. We’ve also seen an abundance of God’s grace as we pursue excellence as a community. Your staff and leadership have been working behind the scenes to update some of our systems. These updates will help us communicate with clarity, offer excellence in our worship gatherings, and prepare the church to help people grow spiritually while making disciples to grow the Kingdom and change the world. One example of the many ways you’re beginning to experience this is the updated audio-visual equipment in both our traditional and contemporary worship gatherings. Where do you find abundance in your life? How are you celebrating it this month with acts of generosity, kindness, and grace? God is on the move, and God is moving abundantly in our midst. Take the time to celebrate God’s abundance in this season of Thanksgiving and prepare your heart to make more room for the King as Advent is nearly here! Enjoy the journey!
MOMENT People often ask, “What exactly is a Stephen Minister?” One way to put it is that Stephen Ministers are the After People. Stephen Ministers are there: . . . after the phone call you hoped you’d never get. . . . after the funeral, when everyone has left and the emotions you’ve held at bay come crashing in on you. . . . after the relationship falls apart and the bottom falls out of your life. . . . after the doctor says, “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing more we can do.” . . . after the nursing home director shakes your hand and says, “Welcome to your new home.” . . . after the last child honks the horn, waves, and drives away—and the house suddenly seems empty. . . . after the gavel comes down, the handcuffs go on, and your loved one is led away. . . . after the baby arrives, demanding more of you than you ever dreamed possible. . . . after you find a pink slip with your final paycheck. . . . after your family and friends have heard your story one too many times, but you still need to talk it out. Stephen Ministers are the "After People." They are ready to come alongside you—or your friends, neighbors, coworkers, or relatives—and provide comfort and support for as long after as needed. Copyright © by Stephen Ministries St. Louis. All rights reserved.
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Thank You for a Successful Health Expo by Carol Komara BJ and I want to thank all of our volunteers for your help! The Health Expo was indeed a success, and we thank you for all you did to make it so. Ann's decorations were priceless and so appropriate for the season. The St. Luke bags are always appreciated, thanks Joe! I think everyone enjoyed the door prizes and it brought "childlike wonder" to all who won. Thanks to all who provided them. It was wonderful to have both nursing students and pharmacy students participate with their posters, as well as Hazel from Bluegrass Navigators, Jackie with her great nutrition information, Kathy with her Dental display and Ella with her mental health display. Ruthie and the students were kept busy checking blood pressures and that is a great wellness check station that is always popular. Our flu shot station was very busy, and the nurses from the health department and the two UK students supervised by their instructor gave about 75 flu shots!!! The greatest joy was to hear folks new to the flu station state that they hardly felt the shot, and two children gave personal testaments that they'd spread the word that these nurses know how to give shots! Mark and Venus did so much to coordinate things for us, and thanks also to John for coordinating the meal tickets for our volunteers. Behind the scenes were Carey and Carol, our custodians who set up our rooms.
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SEPTEMBER 201 9
FINANCIAL UPDATE NOTES: • September was a good giving month. Let’s keep it up! • We had some lean months prior to this, during which we had to borrow against our reserves and were also unable to pay our apportionments, and we still have some ground to make up to ensure the church is in a position of excellent financial health.*
• We were able to pay $10,000 from the Balloon Fund toward the principal on our mortgage. • We are getting close to having paid off half of our mortgage! • Your contributions as we approach the end of the year will be critical. • If you want to talk to a pastor about your stewardship, please contact Pastor Brian or Pastor Nora.
Ministry and Vision Contributions for the month
*Total Income for the month Expenses for the month
Alms contributions for the month Balloon Fund contributions the month Balloon Fund contributions calendar year-to-date
$2,846.25 $2,008.00 $24,203.33
Life Center mortgage balance
2020 Fiscal Year Budget (July 2019 through June 2020) Ministry & Vision Contributions fiscal year-to-date *Total Income fiscal year-to-date Expenses fiscal year-to-date
$1,237,314.69 $335,821.94 $339,304.79 $282,097.22
There are several ways to give at St. Luke! • Online at www.stlukeumc.org (click “Give Online”) • Your cash or check placed in the offering plate on Sunday mornings or dropped off during the week, or your check mailed to the church • Through stock donations • Through IRA minimum required distributions (for persons at least 70 ½) • Through foundations (This can be a good way to contribute for some people who have received sizeable funds through sale of a property, an inheritance, etc. Funds are placed with a charitable foundation and are dispersed at your timing and direction.) Questions? Please contact Nora Conner, Executive Pastor * Total income includes contributions, building use fees, and Kroger card receipts. 7 | November 2019
Total 15% $1,237,314
16% Children's Ministry
16% 16% Children's Ministry
15% Adult Ministrie s 12% 12% Missional Communities Outreach 17% 13% Youth Ministry
17% Outreach 12% Missional Communities 13% Youth Ministry 16% Worship 11% Nurture
16% Worship 12% Missional Communities 11% Nurture
13% Youth Ministry 16% Worship
can find copies of this process in the October 11% Nurture newsletter and in the information racks in the Welcome Center and Connection Center). Our goal is to communicate with excellence as we strive for clarity and transparency in these matters. This is the first month for one part of this process, which is that each quarter, we will share a narrative explanation of our income and expenses, describe the church’s overall financial health, and provide financial transparency of the church’s budget needs versus revenue projections for the fiscal year. As I do this here, I need to share some context and background:
Dear Church Family, It’s hard to believe that 2019 is almost over, isn’t it! As you read this, fall is almost in the rear-view mirror, and Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas are right around the corner. I pray that during these seasons you keep the Giver of all good things and the Christ child close in your hearts and actions. As you read in last month’s article, we have updated and improved our process for communicating about the church’s finances (you
Our budget for the 2020 fiscal represents a reduction of $113,535.33 over last year’s budget, which in turn was also a reduction from the previous year’s budget. In this year’s budget, the reduction was achieved in two ways: One was through reduction in actual expenses, primarily in the staffing area. The other was achieved by including what we felt we could realistically pay in apportionments to the Kentucky UM Conference this year (think of apportionments as a tithe to the United Methodist Church), rather than including the full amount we expected to owe. Apportionments are an important responsibility (continued on next page) November 2019 | 8
that we have and that we take very seriously; however, while we paid full apportionments in previous years, we were only able to pay a portion in 2018. You may be wondering why the need for budget reductions at all, and that’s a good question. You may remember from previous newsletter articles that 2018 was our highest giving year ever, and that’s true. However, we also have a mortgage on our Life Center (the newer part of our facility), and we have to make monthly mortgage payments. When we had our capital campaigns for building the Life Center, part of the funds raised were set aside to pay some of the mortgage payments while we gradually built them in to the budget over several years. 2018 was the first year that we had all twelve mortgage payments in our budget, bearing the full cost through our contributions. Each of the past few years has seen the difference between our available funds (contributions and other income) and our expenses decrease; we got to the point where there was significant strain on our cash flow, and we had to borrow from our reserves as we made budget adjustments to make sure that our expenses were not exceeding our income. There is another consideration we took in to account when we set this year’s budget: your contributions. We anticipate, and I think rightly so, that contributions will continue to increase. Your church administrative teams and staff are doing their part, and we depend on you, each person connected in the life of our church, to do your part as well. We have projected that contributions will be $1,250,000 this fiscal year, and if we remain on our current trajectory, we will get there! Reaching this goal is important for three primary reasons: One, it will allow us to meet our budgeted needs, which reflect our vision of ministry that reaches people for Jesus Christ. Two, it will allow us to rebuild our reserves and “repay” 9 | November 2019
ourselves. And three, reaching this goal will indicate important spiritual growth within our congregation. I have come to understand personally and as a pastor that taking seriously what the Bible says about money is truth, not just for the benefit of the church, but also—and perhaps most importantly—for the spiritual growth of the giver. Since we have had a strong start to our fiscal year, we have been able to catch up some on rebuilding our reserves, and that is a true celebration. Our next steps are to continue that growth, finish rebuilding our reserves, and return to paying full apportionments. We are on the right track; we just need to keep at it! Next, I want to point you to the Financial Update article that’s also included in this newsletter. It will give you a good picture of our contributions and expenses as of the writing of this article, as well as a big-picture look at how our budget is allocated. As you ponder and pray about these matters, I want to assure you that we have excellent leadership through the Finance Team and Senior Pastor. And what a gift that is! And as always, if you would like to talk about these matters, please let me know. I’d love to sit down and discuss things with you!
Nora Conner Executive Pastor
hile many people are celebrating the joy of the holidays, do you find yourself struggling? Do you find it difficult to think about or plan activities because of the loss of loved ones, health challenges, or other significant life events? Mark your calendars for Sunday, December 8th! From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. St. Luke will be graced with the presence and talents of Diane Munoz, Chaplain with Bluegrass Hospice Care who will lead us in an evening that will include a time of cherishing memories as well as a program on how to live through the holidays with hope. Diane has a Masters of Divinity from Asbury and is highly praised in her role of Chaplain with the Hospice Care Unit with Bluegrass Care Navigators. This program is being supported by the St. Luke Stephen Ministers working with Pastor Brian. Watch for more details closer to the date!
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"Thank you to everyone who helped make the Pumpkin Fest a great night for our community!"
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cookout & CLOSING SESSION
Wednesday.comm Closing Fall 2019 NOVEMBER 20, 5:15-7:00 P.M. The Grow and Equip team has decided to do our Wednesday.comm closing a little differently this year. For our closing meal we will have a cookout put on by our Servant Leadership Team for dinner! Then our classes will meet from 6:00-6:30 as normal and from 6:30-7:00 we will have a closing session for the classes combined in the Trinity room to share what they have learned in their classes. We are looking forward to hearing from each class how they have been impacted by the discipleship at St. Luke this semester!
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The Advent Wreath
n the United Methodist Church, the Advent wreath, with four candles on a wreath of evergreen, is shaped in a perfect circle to symbolize the eternity of God. Each Sunday of the Advent season we focus on one of the following four virtues Jesus brings to us: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. We light the Christ candle (the center candle) on Christmas Eve to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world! Advent Season is just around the corner, and we are seeking individuals, families, or groups to participate in lighting the Advent candles during each of the morning worship services on December 1, 8, 15, 22. We will also need families/groups to light the
candles during the Christmas Eve services at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. If you would enjoy assisting with the Advent candle lighting in a December worship service, a sign-up sheet is posted in the Connection Center or you may contact Mariann Reinke at email@example.com.
Sign up on the sheet in the Connection Center this sunday!
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& PACKING PARTY
ALL ABOARD! NOVEMBER 23, 6pm in the Loft Join us in the Loft for a Shoe Box Packing party and to watch â€œThe Polar Expressâ€? This church wide event combines food, fellowship & fun with helping others! We ask that you bring a snack to share and some items to donate for the boxes! The packing party will begin at 6 and the movie will start at 6:30. Kids are welcome to wear PJs and bring a sleeping bag and pillow to relax during the movie. We will have a fun craft for kids too! If you cannot attend, but wish to donate items for the boxes, there is a collection bin located at the Connection Center Desk. Item list on the next page.
You can provide Christmas gifts for the children of our partner village in Nicaragua! Check out the photo of some of them recieving our boxes in years past. 15 | November 2019
Christmas Shoebox Gifts for Nicaraguan Children Did you know that a small shoebox can have a big impact? Thanks to your generosity, when the shoebox is filled with a purpose, it can happen! Be a part of changing childrenâ€™s lives as we continue to build on our partnership with Yakalawas, Nicaragua. Our Going Forth (Missions) Team is sponsoring this project again this year, and we hope the whole St. Luke family will participate! This year, we are asking for donations of items instead of filled boxes and a donation of $5 per box to cover shipping. We will have a packing party on November 23 (see previous page) to pack the boxes. CLOTHING
washcloth, comb, brush, toothbrush
something soft and cuddly
hair bows, barrettes, scrunchies,
harmonica, whistle, bells
Toothpaste is not allowed
deflated soccer ball and hand pump
SCHOOL SUPPLIES paper pencils (regular and colored) small pencil sharpener crayons markers erasers scissors
Age Ranges Boys age 2-4 Girls age 2-4 Boys age 5-8 Girls age 5-8 Boys age 9-12 Girls age 9-12
fast food toys yo-yos Hot Wheels cars small craft kits You may also contribute to cover the $5 per box shipping cost!
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pantry St. Luke operates a food pantry through God's Pantry on Mondays through Fridays from 1-2:30 p.m. & 6-7:30 p.m. The clients are given an opportunity to pick food items to form a nutritional food selection. Food supplements are prepared from both donated and purchased food and contain the items necessary to prepare enough meals for five to seven days.
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From the Pantry Shelf by Karen Hinkle
HOLIDAY SPECIAL NEEDS
approximately 2 hours and no more than 2 or 3 persons are Christmas for our Pantry Clients needed each time. This would Do you have holiday decorations involve making the coffee and hot you no longer use? Bring them chocolate, setting out the items to us! How about those gifts that near the pantry waiting area and just weren’t your style or didn’t fit then offering, serving and chatting with your décor? If they could with clients and then clearing up. be re-gifted, consider bringing them to us. We also like to offer This will include a treat of coffee families gently used children’s and hot chocolate and cookies toys, books or games that are or other baked goods to our in good condition. Perhaps clients on the three days before children could select some items Thanksgiving, November 25, 26 they would like to donate for and 27th and on Dec 19th, 20th a less fortunate girl or boy? If and Monday Dec 23rd. Last year you have them in your closets, we just purchased the food items, rather than discarding bring but would welcome home baked them to the pantry on Dec 1st or items this year! anytime after that date. We will offer items to our clients starting Last year, this was well received on December 2nd through by clients who often had been December 23rd. waiting in the cold before coming in. This would be a terrific Holiday Hospitality way for St Luke families to do We are looking for St. Luke folks a little something special for willing to be hosts or hostesses others. Interested in sharing to offer a personal St. Luke some holiday spirit? Contact hospitality to our pantry clients a Karen Hinkle at kphinkle@twc. few days before Thanksgiving and com or call 859-421-1232. A also before Christmas. signup sheet will be posted by the The time involved would be Connection Center Desk.
PANTRY VOLUNTEER NEEDS
Karen Hinkle to discuss. It is mornings possible to have a Coordinator • Wednesday night team could handling the morning stocking use one or two additional Thursday Coordinator and another person to serve as persons willing to work one We are looking for a Day Coordinator for afternoon. night a month. Coordinator for Thursdays. • persons willing to sub for Helen Newby who served as Regular Volunteer Openings regular volunteers who our long time Thursday Day Monday through Friday, St. need to be away for medical Coordinator has stepped down Luke needs 4-5 volunteers appointments or family from those responsibilities due each morning and another obligations to personal and family health team of at least 4 in the issues. We are very thankful for afternoon and again on One can work a regular weekly her six plus years of consistent Wednesday night. That is about slot or several times a month service on our God’s Pantry 45 energetic, caring persons whatever fits your schedule. Team as she made sure each week. It also is coming Want to be a part of a ministry the morning supplies were time for those volunteers, who in which the need that comes shelved, all the routine tasks are 'snow birds,' to go south for to us? Contact Karen Hinkle were completed, and that all the winter months. at firstname.lastname@example.org or call afternoon volunteers were her at 859-421-1232 to discuss present and prepared for the Current openings: the expectations and job duties. afternoon service. Now we • afternoon volunteers Tuesdays Then you will work with the need to find a replacement. and Fridays Volunteer Scheduler to get fit Anyone interested in learning • morning stocking volunteers into the calendar. more about the duties contact on Wednesday and Thursday
This month we are asking for fruit. Any kind of fruit is fine. Canned peaches, pears, pineapple, mandarin oranges, applesauce, mixed fruit. Pick up a Blue Barrel Bag on November 10 and return on Sunday, November 17th. On vacation or out of town on those dates? You can drop off your contributions any time by leaving at the Blue Barrels by door 3 or at the pantry.
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This newsletter is also available online in full color at stlukeumc.org/newsletter. Worship Schedule: 9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11:00 a.m. Godâ€™s Backyard (K - 5th grade): 11:00 a.m. Swahili Worship: 12:30 p.m. Multicultural Worship: 3:00 p.m. 2351 Alumni Dr., Lexington, KY 40517 Âˇ 859-269-4687 Child care available at all services.
The November 2019 Newsletter of St. Luke UMC